by Tang Zhiqiang, Li Ming
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The exploration of shale gas is a revolution, and is changing global energy picture, chief economist of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Birol said several major changes were seen in global energy landscape. Roles of actors in the energy sector were changing.
"For many years, America had the role of being an energy importer. But now, its role changed and it is becoming an energy exporter," he said, "America, because it produces a lot of shale gas and shale oil, does not need much Canadian oil and gas. So, Canada has to turn to Asia, especially to China, to export its energy."
Despite the fact many people were concerned about the environmental effects of shale gas, the new source of energy was coming in the energy picture and changing the game in the energy world, Birol said.
"These concerns can be minimized or nullified if companies take necessary measures, if there are regulations," he said.
Birol attributed the global energy system changes to shale gas and shale oil revolution, plans of many countries including those in Europe and Japan to renounce nuclear power, as well as the fact that many countries now want to use energy more and more efficiently.
These changes were also reshaping the global financial and economic system, he said adding future energy demands would come from three major sources: China, India and the Middle East.
Facing increasing demand, though the share of renewable energies such as hydric power, wind, solar and biomass were increasing, it still cannot be concluded that "we can very soon totally rely on renewable energies," Birol said.
He emphasized that the energy issue was very important for climate change, citing that "two thirds of emissions leading to climate change come from the energy sector."
"If you want to solve the climate change problem, you have to solve the problems in the energy sector. If we continue with our current energy habits of and consumption, we, if not us, our children will, need to say goodbye to our current lifestyle," he said.